I hold an unofficial master’s degree in false humility. You know folks like me. Perhaps you are folks like me. But here’s the way we roll:
– We have a practiced ability to deflect any compliment.
– We love to make self-deprecating statements about ourselves in public, hoping someone will tell us that we’re wrong.
– Though we secretly suspect we are good at a number of things, we would never acknowledge those things for fear we might be perceived as prideful.
Ironically, this kind of false humility is actually another kind of pride. People like me still think of themselves often – if not all the time. We just try and make ourselves think about how bad we are. Regardless, the focus is still on self.
This contradicts the famous definition of true humility, which I believe came from CS Lewis: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”
It also occurs to me that this kind of pride masquerading as self-loathing is radically contrary to the gospel. I am coming to believe more and more that God, my Father, takes great offense when I (or you) put myself down and refuse to acknowledge my areas of giftings. It’s the same feeling of frustration and borderline anger when my own children refuse to see and feel good about their accomplishments.
There is nothing wrong with being good at something. Acknowledging and making the most of your talents is another way of glorifying God who made you the way you are. So say it with me now. Fight through the mask and be real for a second, and feel the pleasure of God exalt in His new creation in you:
“I’m good at…”